Fulfilling Your Ministry
Paul's fourth and final missionary journey has landed him in a Roman dungeon, awaiting execution. His “dying words”—found in 2 Timothy chapter 4—are aimed at helping Timothy “fulfill his ministry” (v.5). Since you have a spiritual gift, and since you know people with needs, you have a ministry, too; Paul's words can help you fulfill it:
Fulfill your ministry for the sake of those who need it. Paul is very particular, in v.2, about Timothy's ministry. Why? Because his hearers need it (v.3).
Fulfill your ministry in the footsteps of your mentors. Paul does not mention his fight, his race (v.7) egotistically, but for Timothy's benefit—that is the point in Paul's transition from v.5 to v.6. Put your mentors in Paul's shoes: are you proving that their investment was worth it?
Fulfill your ministry despite difficulties. Paul's keeping of The Faith—his faithfulness to the truth when it hurt—was as difficult as a fight or a race (v.7). He also experienced loneliness (v.9ff), physical needs (v.13), and betrayal (v.16). He wants Timothy to know these costs upfront, and expects him to jump into the ring.
Fulfill your ministry expecting a reward. Paul expected a crown (v.8). He tied this both to his keeping of The Faith now (v.7), and to his anticipation of Christ's return (v.8), hinting at a connection between those two things.
Fulfill your ministry trusting God to be with you. Paul was betrayed by others, but not by God (v.16). Because God was with him, Paul was rescued from his own cowardice (vss. 17-18)—something he feared more than death. God was with Paul so that all the Gentiles would hear the gospel (v.17); likewise, God is too interested in spreading His Kingdom through your ministry not to be with you when you fulfill it.
Scott Cline is a ministerial student and member of All Saints Church (CREC), Lancaster PA.